Jeren's Travel Log - 1st Entry

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This note is found in the Basalt Crags, west of the Vanguard of the Three.

We set out yesterday to make our way over the charred rim and down into the valley below. It is a wild place where towering basalt formations jut from the ground like the bones of an ancient beast. I don't know what happened here but it appears as if the earth turned itself inside out, spewing its jagged entrails across the valley floor. The land rests now but signs of ancient turmoil abound.

I must say I am pleasantly surprised to find that Amal's map has been accurate. When he bought the old rag from a wandering junk peddler and then tried to convince me to join his little treasure hunt I was skeptical to say the least. After all, what kind of traveling trash merchant carries a genuine treasure map, for a few measly iron bits no less. Even if the map was real, I thought, what business do Amal and I have trekking through a burning desert to raid some poor soul's long-forgotten grave. But he's really come through this time; the map is in fact real and, remarkably, Amal has led us this far without incident. According to the map, it won't be more than a half day's journey to the place they once called the Valley of the Chosen, or so Amal says. I'm relying entirely on him as I cannot read the supposed ancient language the map is written in. How he can is beyond me.

There are signs of a once mighty civilization everywhere. I've seen buildings, statues, tombs and temples. Some stand as if they were erected yesterday but most have fallen prey to the ravages that tore through this land long ago. If I didn't know better, I'd say the earth itself had reared up to lay waste to the structures built here, intentionally razing some and leaving others untouched. It is an unnerving thought, no doubt.

I do not know what happened to this place, or to the people that must have inhabited it, or why no one has returned to reclaim it. Amal tells me stories of cataclysmic events, the roiling hot blood of the earth pouring over the land, unnatural beasts risen to exact the vengeful punishment of a scorned god. I honestly don't know if he's making it up to scare me or if he genuinely believes that's what happened here.

In the end, all that matters is that everyone left in a hurry and they left a whole lot of valuables behind. If it is true, and it appears to be, this will be a very profitable journey after all.

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